Musings From A Bookmammal

The Tuesday Ten–Please Pass The Tissues!



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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new question or theme is presented.  This week’s prompt is:

The Top Ten Books That Make You Cry

I cry at the drop of a hat when I go to the movies, but it takes a bit more to get the tears flowing when I’m reading. When I started to compose my list, I quickly realized that my “grab the tissues” books fall all over the map–some kids books, some novels, some essay collections, and even some nonfiction. Here they are, in no particular order–the top ten books that have made me cry:

charlottes-web1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

I cried the first time I read this classic back when I was in elementary school, and I tear up every time I’ve re-read it since. I don’t think anyone has a heart so hard that it won’t break just a bit at the end of this book.


heart sounds2. Heart Sounds by Martha Weinman Lear

This is a nonfiction, first person account of life after illness strikes. It’s the story of the author and her husband—who was also a physician—and what both of them experienced after he developed severe heart disease. This is such an honest book—neither the author nor her husband are depicted as saints in any way–and it’s also a wonderful romantic, modern love story. And even though I knew before I began reading it that the book would end with her husband’s death, I was still choking back tears during the last chapter.

Picture13. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I hardly know where to begin on this one. I loved everything about this YA novel and it was one of the best books I read last year. By the end of the book I was a teary, wet mess. When I was done I just had to sit quietly for awhile and let everything settle. That’s powerful writing.

dive clausens pier4. The Dive From Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer

This is one of my favorite novels ever. Very briefly, it’s the story of Carrie, a recent college graduate, who is engaged to her high school sweetheart—and who decides that, although she loves her fiancé, she’s feeling trapped, and that she owes it to herself to find out what else may be out there for her. Before she can break things off with him, or even have a real conversation with him about her feelings, he is paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident. The dilemma then becomes—does she stay or does she go?

I love this book for many reasons—and one of my favorite scenes is a heart-wrenching, yet understated one taking place between Carrie and her fiancé. They both say so much without actually saying much of anything at all, and it almost makes me cry just to recall it. If you’re looking for a great book club book with plenty of opportunities for discussion—and perhaps an excuse for a tear or two—give this book a try.

grapes of wrath5. The Grapes Of Wrath by John Steinbeck

This is one of my favorite classics, and there’s one particular scene that hit me hard the first time I read it. It’s the chapter towards the beginning of the book where Steinbeck is writing the internal dialogue of  men, women, and children as they are choosing what possessions to take with them, and which ones they’ll need to leave behind. Such mighty yet spare writing!  I vividly remember weeping when I read this chapter for the first time.

and the band played on6. And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts

This amazing and distressing nonfiction account of the early days of AIDS made me cry in several spots—both from sadness at the lives that were lost much too soon, and in anger and sheer frustration at the bureaucracy, egos, and fear that allowed it to happen. This is one of my favorite nonfiction books–it’s packed with information and yet almost reads like a novel–but unfortunately every bit of it is true.

stone fox7. Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

This small chapter book (less than 100 pages) is the story of a boy, his grandfather, a dogsled race, and a faithful dog–and if the ending doesn’t stop you in your tracks and make you cry, I don’t know what will. I used to read this book aloud to some of my classes when I was teaching, and I never failed to tear up at the end. None of the kids ever made fun of me for doing so. The room was always silent when I finished. What a great, moving story this is!

nora8. The Most of Nora Ephron by Nora Ephron

This is a huge collection of writings by the late, great Nora Ephron, but it’s the two 1-page pieces in this 400+ page volume that reduced me to tears. “What I Won’t Miss” and “What I’ll Miss” are two lists Ephron composed near the end of her life. I defy anyone to read them without choking up. I miss Nora Ephron’s voice tremendously.

happy marriageplan b9. This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett


10. Plan B: Further Thoughts On Faith by Anne Lamott

I’m tying these two collections of essays together because each of them contain similar selections that made me cry like a baby. Both books include essays about the death of a beloved dog—and that’s a subject that is guaranteed to turn me into a weepy mess.

How about you? Have you read any of these? What are some books that make you break out the tissues? Please share!

Author: bookmammal

I love books, reading, writing, cooking, eating, reading while eating, and sharing thoughts about all of the above–plus a bit more! I usually post about topics relating to books and literacy during the week, and then participate in a variety of non-bookish memes on the weekend. Please feel free to join in! Some random things about me– –I have multiple bookshelves in every room of my home except the bathroom. They’re all filled to bursting. They help to make my house my home. –I have two cats who I love dearly, but who I definitely do NOT dress in human clothing. Ever. –I’ve never had a cavity. –I make a mean spaghetti sauce. –I’m a newcomer to yoga and I love it. –My day is not complete without a little chocolate.

25 thoughts on “The Tuesday Ten–Please Pass The Tissues!

  1. Eleanor & Park is a fantastic book! I was moved by it. Great list!

  2. I have Eleanor & Park but I haven’t read it yet. I love my Kindle, but sometimes I swear it is too easy to lose a book on there lol

    Charlotte’s Web gets me every time too.

  3. Great list! I forgot about Charlotte’s Web. I haven’t read it in ages but it definitely gets me. I haven’t read Eleanor & Park but I know I need to!

  4. Eleanor & Park made it onto my list too ❤ I was a complete mess after the ending. I actually haven't read/even heard of some of the books on your list so I'll definitely make sure to check them out!
    Great list 🙂

    • I know–I haven’t cried so hard when reading a book in ages–and I’m talking about the kind of crying where you can’t catch your breath. Something about that ending of Eleanor & Park just got to me!

  5. I’ve only read E&P and watched Charlotte’s Web, but the rest of your list sounds great too!
    Also, I love your blog’s name 😀

    • Oh–if you haven’t read Charlotte’s Web, you must! There is NO COMPARISON to the movie version!
      (I’ve always thought the term “bookworm” was kind of . . I don’t know . . . icky. I much prefer the more accurate bookmammal! 🙂 )

  6. Oh I remember crying at Charlotte’s Web as a child too. I haven’t read many of the other books on your list but I like the sound of a lot of them – particularly The Dive From Clausen’s Pier and Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. I’ll have to look into purchasing them 🙂

    • You will have a completely different appreciation for Charlotte’s Web if you read it again now!
      Dive From Claussen’s Pier is a really thought provoking book. When we read it for my book club it evoked some of the most intense discussions we’d ever had.

  7. I don’t think I cried reading Eleanor & Park, but it was definitely an emotional read. I haven’t read Charlotte’s Web, but that one is also emotional.

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

  8. Thanks for also had Eleanor and Park on my list. I even think I am ready for a reread of it, or I should say a recry of it. Thanks also for the reminder that I want to read a Dive from Clausen’s Pier. It has been on the back burner for so long. Time to pull it forward.

  9. Oh Dive from Clausen’s Pier is definitely a good choice for this one. Hadn’t thought of that book in ages. And, Eleanor & Park was wonderful. Great choices!

  10. I was in tears at Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. I was so moved by it.

  11. Thanks for reminding me of Nora Ephron’s “What I’ll Miss” and “What I Won’t Miss.” I had forgotten how much I like those two pieces of writing! I saw Stone Fox on a couple of lists yesterday–will have to find that one, though faithful dog stories really tear me up just thinking about them. Eleanor & Park is another excellent choice for a list of crying books. I’m going to look for Heartsounds–think I’d like that one. Thanks!

    • Heartsounds is probably out of print–but definitely worth looking for at the library or used book shops.
      I know what you mean about dog stories–I usually avoid them because I know they’ll mess me up for the rest of the day! 🙂

  12. Charlotte’s Web is the very first book I remember crying over so I’m delighted that this has made your list! The Grapes of Wrath would also make my list but you have some there that I haven’t heard of that I’m off to check out. 🙂

  13. Awwww, Charlotte’s Web and Eleanor and Park for sure. I”m glad I’m not the only one who wept over The Grapes of Wrath. 🙂

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